|I started hiking up to the summit of Cowpen Mountain the Saturday after 9/11. By Friday night (the 14th) I was |
exhausted from all the TV coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Buildings, the Pentagon,
etc, and felt like I needed to get out of the house and relax. So, I headed for Big Frog Mountain -- the highest
peak in the northern part of the Cohutta Wilderness that is actually in Tennessee
(and called Big Frog Wilderness Area).
I had by luck, 4 or 5 American flags -- the ones on 24" sticks with the flags being 11 by 18 inches in size -- in the
truck with me and I took one with me and stuck it into my backpack so that it was "flying" the whole way up the
mountain with me. As I walked along, I could hear it flapping in the breeze and every now and then, I could see it
out of the corner of my eye. For whatever reason, those sensations gave me comfort as I hiked and
contemplated all the events of the past several traumatic days as America was reeling with
anger and sadness of what happened on 9/11.
As I was getting ready to head down, I decided to leave the flag there so I made a makeshift pole, attached the
flag to it, saluted it and headed down. I told myself if anyone tries to sneak into America by parachuting into a
desolate place, they would know right off the bat that we were everywhere -- and ready!
After getting back to my truck, I headed back down into Georgia via Forest Service roads and headed for Three
Forks Mountain in the Cohutta Wilderness. I parked in the parking lot there and hiked up to Cowpen Mountain,
placed another flag on a tall pole and then after coming back down, I went the opposite way and hiked up Three
Forks Mountain and placed a flag on the summit there.
Then I headed for Grassy Mountain over by Lake Conasauga on the far western side of the Cohutta Wilderness
area. I parked my truck at the end of the road and hiked up the old road that leads to the huge Grassy Mountain
Fire Lookout Tower and once there, I attached another flag to the tower (with a Ranger's permission who
happened to be there on fire watch duty).
Anyway, ever since then, I go back to Cowpen Mountain and replace the flag there. I guess because it was so
hard to reach -- the summit area because of all the tall brier thickets and brush, etc. -- that it has drawn me,
challenged me I guess, to keep coming back to check on the flag.
Not a problem -- I've got lots of flags ... :-)